There’s a reason the favorites this week are the favorites. Yes, the NASCAR Cup Series is racing at the same Daytona International Speedway as they were last weekend. But, this time, they’re taking to the 3.61-mile road course instead.
The favorites list shrinks drastically. The odds of a 60-1 race winner like we saw for the Daytona 500 are as slim as they come.
Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. enter as the favorites. That’s for good measure too. Elliott (3-1) and Truex (4-1) have combined to win eight of the last nine points paying races on road courses in NASCAR’s premiere division and took two of the top three finishing spots in last August’s race here with Elliott winning.
Elliott, also finished runner-up in last Tuesday’s Busch Clash while Truex crashed while leading with the arguably fastest car.
Ryan Blaney (9-1) won the one race over the last nine that they didn’t win and was 1 turn away from a Clash win last week. Denny Hamlin (9-1) was runner-up last August and had likely the third or fourth fastest car last Tuesday night.
See why this list is top heavy?
But, there could be some sleepers. Here’s who to watch.
AJ Allmendinger (14-1)
This is a strong road course ringer. Allmendinger’s lone Cup win came back in 2014 at Watkins Glen. In the Xfinity Series though, he’s won the last two years on the Charlotte ROVAL, was runner-up last year at Road America and fourth on the Indy road course while also being runner-up at the Glen in 2018 and third at Mid-Ohio in 2019. Watch out for him on Sunday.
Chase Briscoe (40-1)
Can we get a first time winner two races in-a-row? Briscoe, earned his first career Xfinity Series triumph on the Charlotte ROVAL. He also won the Indy road course last year. Why not at Daytona?
Matt DiBenedetto (50-1)
He held his own for a while in the Busch Clash. Also, DiBenedetto, was also fourth and sixth respectively in Sonoma and Watkins Glen for Leavine Family Racing in 2019. I’ve seen crazier stuff happen and you get him at 50-1 odds right now too.
Erik Jones (66-1)
Worth a look here. Jones, has five top eight finishes in his last eight road course starts. The only three finishes though not in the top 10 were on the Charlotte ROVAL in his first two years of racing on it and 11th at Daytona last year. That’s worth noting because he was actually third on the ROVAL a year ago too.
Michael McDowell (66-1)
Can he start 2021 2-for-2? The Daytona 500 champion also finished 10th in last years road course race and has been known as a good road course racer at that.